TBR Day. The Earl's Intended Wife / Louise Allen. 2004

Louise Allen has written some 2-3 dozen Regency historicals for Harlequin Mills & Boon in the U.K., most of which have also been published by Harlequin Historicals in the U.S. My copy still had its WalMart sticker on it, so I assume I picked it up in early 2006 when it was published over here. When I entered this in my database, I realized that the only other Louise Allen book I'd read was her 2007 Virgin Slave, Barbarian King, a Roman historical set in 410 AD. I don't know how I'd overlooked her books in the past since I do tend toward Regency-set books so often. I definitely liked this well enough that I'll look for some of her backlist.

TEIW is not your typical Regency. That scores some major points right there. There's adventure, drama, and a Big Misunderstanding. I'm not fond of the Big Misunderstanding, so despite the unusual setting, adventure, and drama, the book lost a few points, too.

The book starts on the island of Malta although it ends back in England on Alex's estate. Part-way into the book there is a sea voyage to Gibraltar. During the voyage there is a storm and Hebe and Alex are swept overboard near the coast of Spain. Fortunately they safely wash up on the shore, but then must make their way overland to Gibraltar, evading the French as they do so. Later, Alex & Hebe arrive (separately) back in England. Circumstances bring the two of them back into contact with one another again. They marry. After several weeks of marriage they finally talk to one another and a HEA ensues. That's the short, somewhat flip version of the story. There's actually quite a bit more to it, but there's a major spoiler I want to avoid. You can go here to read an excerpt and a blurb.

I realized after I finished reading it that the book is told almost entirely from Hebe's POV. If there were any scenes from Alex's POV, I don't remember them. Usually I prefer multiple POVs. But Allen's writing is very good and I don't feel as if I was missing anything. Then there was the whole bit of Alex & Hebe getting washed overboard and surviving long enough to make it to shore. Normally this is wall-banger territory for me. I think I was willing to go with it because I was enjoying the characters of Hebe & Alex and I was genuinely interested in seeing their relationship develop.

So while this wasn't an outstanding read, it was certainly entertaining and kept me interested. As I said, I intend to seek out more books by Allen and I expect I'll enjoy those as well.


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